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A-10 Tournament First Round Preview: VCU WBB v Richmond

A-10 Tournament First Round Preview: VCU WBB v Richmond

Tournament Time

It’s time for postseason basketball in the A-10. After a back and forth conference season, resulting in an 8th place finish, VCU will get a chance to host 9th seeded Richmond for the right to advance to play in the Richmond Coliseum. The winner will play the A-10 regular season champions, the Dayton Flyers.

We Meet Again

This will be the second time Beth O’Boyle’s group will face the Spiders in their first conference tournament matchup. Last year her Rams knocked UR out of the tourney, 62-42. VCU is enjoying a three game win streak after defeating their crosstown rivals twice this year. The Spiders finished the regular season 13-16 and 7-9 in league play.

Offensive Gap

The Spiders defensive numbers would indicate a better record than 13-16. They rank 3rd in the conference in defensive scoring, 7th in defensive field goal percentage and 2nd in 3PT FG% defense. Their offense is what lets them down. Their scoring offense is 13th, their FG% ranks last and their 3PT FG% is 12th. They are an excellent defensive team but their defensive numbers may be inflated (deflated?) because the Spiders don’t push teams to score much in order to beat them. They’ve failed to score more than 50 points 7 times this campaign.

Better Than Average

In their two meetings this year the Rams won 62-55 and 57-55. UR managed to hold the Rams below their modest scoring average of 63, yet it wasn’t enough to overcome their own lack of offense. In their first meeting Richmond shot 19-61 (31%) from the field. Surprisingly they managed to go 8-18 from 3. 43% of the Spiders’ points came on those 8 made 3’s. In both match ups UR shot significantly better from the perimeter than their average of 27%. A team outshooting their season average is a common occurrence against VCU. They are ranked last among A-10 teams at 3 point defense. UR is on the other end of that spectrum, they rank second in 3 point defense.

Experts at the Line

VCU had quality shooting performances in their two meetings, possibly the most significant difference between victory and defeat between these two schools was the free throw line. Richmond shot 38 free throws, making only 25 of them. This year they shot 69% from the line, in the two games with VCU they shot 65%. Considering the Spiders lost to the Rams by a combined 9 points, missing 13 free throws easily could have cost them a couple victories. VCU took 45 shots from the stripe and made 32, that’s a make rate of 71%. That disparity has to do with VCU’s willingness to attack UR’s defense in the paint. The Rams scored 44 points in the paint compared to their counterparts 26. In their first meeting, Keira Robinson singlehandedly outshot Richmond from the stripe by going 11-11. Robinson is a perfect 15-15 from the line in this year’s series against Richmond.


The players in this series have produced inconsistently. No player on either team who scored double digits in the first game managed to repeat that in the second. 9 different players recorded 10 or more points in their two meetings, yet their rosters put together contain only 3 players who average double digits over the season.

Survive and Advance

The Rams have proven they can beat the Spiders this year but both games were tightly contested. To create separation they’ll need more than their all everything senior guard, Keira Robinson. Isis Thorpe is the most significant variable on her team. Thorpe doesn’t need a monster game but a few made 3’s is all she needs to deliver. Her team is very inconsistent from the perimeter; she is the player who can transform VCU into a team capable of competing with anyone in the league.

There are few accomplishments in sports that are as exciting as advancing in a tournament, any tournament. After a difficult regular season, a win here would breathe some life into this program. With 6 seniors on the roster it would be nice for their careers to continue for just a while longer.

Derek graduated from VCU in 2015 with a degree in broadcast journalism. As the Sports Director for VCU’s student run radio station, WVCW, he garnered a handful of nominations for the Intercollegiate Broadcasting Systems Awards and received an award with fellow contributor Darnell Myrick for their Men’s Basketball Play-by-Play. He’s worked as a producer for multiple radio stations in Richmond and served as the In-Game Host for the Washington Nationals. Derek strives to bring a thoughtful and measured approach to his coverage of VCU sports, while still holding on to his zealous enthusiasm for his alma mater.

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